LONG’S SENATE BILL TOUGHENS INDIANA’S SEX OFFENDER LAWS

Indiana’s children are our state’s most precious assets. Sadly, nearly 67 percent of all reported sexual assault crimes are committed against children. In fact, 34 percent of sexual assault victims are under age 12. Fifteen percent are under age 6. Despite efforts to better protect our children that are still too many sexual deviants who continue to prey upon their innocence. This Session, Senator David Long authored Senate Bill 12, which has now become law, and will provide powerful new limits and controls on sex offenders.

The new law starts with the premise that the only way to keep sexual predators from striking twice is to ensure their whereabouts are known by law enforcement. The law requires offenders found to be sexually violent predators to wear a GPS satellite-monitoring device at all times. If these sex offenders plan to spend more than 72 hours from his/her principle residence, the offender must notify both the local law enforcement agency, and that of the city or county of visitation, with a complete itinerary, including a return date. Failure to do so is a felony.

Also new is the requirement that any person at least 18 years old who is convicted of a Class A or B child molesting felony shall be placed on lifetime parole once his or her prison term is complete. In addition, any individual convicted of two child molesting crimes in another state whose parole is transferred to Indiana is also required to be placed on lifetime parole. Senate Bill 12 also prevents courts from granting petitions for adoption or legal guardianship to a sexually violent predator or to a convicted child molester.

The Department of Corrections (DOC) has been given more authority over sex offenders by receiving control of the state sex offender registry. The DOC is now also required to register those offenders before being released from prison.

The Internet site for the Sex Offender Registry has also been updated, making it easier for citizens to discover if a sex offender is living in their neighborhood.

Finally, the new law prohibits a sexually violent predator or child molester from living or working within 1,000 feet of any school, park or youth program center, and a sexually violent predator is not permitted to live within one mile of the victim’s residence. A violation of this rule is a felony.

Unfortunately, statistics show that sex offenders are four times more likely than other offenders to be arrested for another sex crime after being released from prison. This new law provides much tighter scrutiny over these predators, and places strict limits on where they can live and work. Our children deserve nothing less.

The Waynedale News Staff
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